National YoungArts Foundation Honors Debbie Allen, Joshua Bell and Adrian Grenier Tonight
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) will honor director and choreographer Debbie Allen, violinist Joshua Bell and actor and alumnus Adrian Grenier at An Affair of the Arts Performance and Gala tonight, January 12, 2013, held in Downtown Miami at the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts and the Historic Alfred I. DuPont Building. The evening will bring together prominent artists, community leaders, philanthropists and celebrities to applaud the participants in the 2013 edition of YoungArts' signature program, YoungArts Week, which provides 150 of the nation's most outstanding young talents in the visual, literary and performing arts with life-changing experiences, including master classes, workshops, inter-disciplinary activities, performances and exhibitions.
"An Affair of the Arts celebrates the accomplishments of our amazing alumni such as Adrian Grenier, and honors individuals including Debbie Allen and Joshua Bell who are making meaningful contributions to the arts," stated Paul T. Lehr, Executive Director of the National YoungArts Foundation. "The work of these great arts leaders shows our next generation, here for YoungArts Week, that they, too, can become a part of the continuing artistic tradition in American society."
Heading this year's event are Honorary Gala Chairs Plácido Domingo and Mikhail Baryshnikov, with Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez. Once again, SunTrust is the event's presenting sponsor with additional support provided by MIAMI Magazine.
Debbie Allen continues to be one of the most respected, relevant, and versatile talents in the entertainment industry and is an internationally recognized director, choreographer and author. As a Culture Connect Ambassador, Ms. Allen represented the United States in visits to Brazil, China, Italy, and India expanding the opportunities in arts education for young people all over the world. She is a member of the prestigious President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, a board member of the American Film Institute, and an Executive Committee member of UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television. Debbie Allen has received three Emmy Awards honoring her choreography, and two Emmys and one Golden Globe for her role as "Lydia Grant" in the hit series, "Fame." She then forayed from acting to directing-first with the series "Fame," followed by "Family Ties" and "Bronx Zoo," before taking the reins at NBC's "A Different World" as director and producer in 1988. Ms. Allen has choreographed for artists such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson, and also holds the distinction of having choreographed the Academy Awards ten times. To date, Ms. Allen directed the second highest rated original movie in Lifetime Channel history, Life is Not A Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story.
Often referred to as the "poet of the violin," Joshua Bell is one of the world's most celebrated violinists, who brings a new generation of audiences to classical concert halls, and new music to classical audiences. Among numerous awards and honors, he is an Avery Fisher Prize recipient and Musical America's 2012 Instrumentalist of the Year. Recently appointed Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, he is the first person to hold this title since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Mr. Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Mercury, Grammy, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards. Recent releases include French Impressions with pianist Jeremy Denk, the eclectic At Home with Friends, the Defiance soundtrack, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic. His discography encompasses critically acclaimed performances of most of the major violin repertoire, in addition to John Corigliano's Oscar-winning soundtrack, The Red Violin.
Adrian Grenier is a 1994 YoungArts alumnus in theater. Graduating from New York's high school for the arts, LaGuardia Arts, Mr. Grenier began acting in 1997 making his film debut in the independent film, "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole." From there, he went on to work with esteemed directors such as Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen until landing the role of Vincent Chase in the HBO series "Entourage." As a director Mr. Grenier has led the creation of "Shot in the Dark," his first feature film chronicling his journey to reconnect with his estranged father; "Alter-Eco" a sustainable lifestyle television series; "Don't Quit Your Daydream," the story of two life-long musicians who are in a band together called The Good Listeners; and soon to be released "How to Make Money Selling Drugs," a tongue-in-cheek look at what is considered to be one of the worst domestic policy failures in recent American history. In 2010 Mr. Grenier' s Production Company, Reckless Productions, completed "Teenage Paparazzo" which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is currently touring universities and town halls throughout North America. Mr. Grenier recently launched the Teenage Paparazzo Empowerment Tour, hoping to reach more than 80 high schools in the US. In addition to acting, Mr. Grenier is a member of The Honey Brothers, a Brooklyn-based band, and in 2012, he started Wreckroom Records a gathering place for bands, friends and fellow musicians to write, record and play music.
An Affair of the Arts Performance and Gala will kick off with an interdisciplinary performance by YoungArts alumni from around the nation in the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts. Following the performance and awards ceremony, guests will walk across the street to the Historic Alfred I. DuPont Hotel that will be transformed into a classic supper club where music by YoungArts alumni will set the stage for a relaxing dinner and conversation. Dinner will be followed by dancing in the street, to the music of DJ Irie.
Affairs for the Arts honorees have included Robert Redford (Arison Award), Doug Aitken (Alumni Award), and Robert L. Lynch (YoungArts Leadership Award) in 2012 and Bill T. Jones (Arison Award), Kerry Washington (Alumni Award), and Michael M. Kaiser (YoungArts Leadership Award) in 2011.
YoungArts Week which takes place in Miami each year enables approximately 150 participants in the YoungArts program to work with distinguished master teachers and mentors such as Robert Redford, Branford Marsalis and Debi Mazar. Like all YoungArts programs, YoungArts Week is designed to support young artists at a critical juncture in their lives and encourage their decision to pursue a career in the arts.
The National YoungArts Foundation (formerly known as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and support the next generation of artists, and to contribute to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of talented young artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts. YoungArts provides emerging artists with life-changing experiences with renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition, and other opportunities throughout their careers to help ensure that the nation's most outstanding emerging artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts.
To date, YoungArts has honored more than 16,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary awards; facilitated in excess of $100 million in college scholarship opportunities; and enabled its participants to work with master teachers who are among the most distinguished artists in the world, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d'Amboise, Plácido Domingo, Bill T. Jones, Quincy Jones and Martin Scorsese. In addition, at the request of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the country's highest honor for artistically talented high school seniors.
In early October 2012, YoungArts acquired the historic Bacardi buildings in Miami and began converting the organization's first national headquarters into a campus that will become a thriving arts and cultural center for young artists ages 15 and up, and allow YoungArts to carry forward an expansion of activities unprecedented in its history. World-renowned architect Frank Gehry has been commissioned to design the master plan for the historic Bacardi campus, creating a multi-disciplinary arts complex that will include a park with state-of-the-art video projection capabilities and arts programming for the benefit of the community. In order to help with its expansion, YoungArts has named Frank Gehry, Plácido Domingo and Bill T. Jones as Artistic Advisors. As part of this initiative, the organization will produce events year-round in New York City, including performances programmed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, master classes and screenings at The Museum of Modern Art, and performances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In Los Angeles, YoungArts will inaugurate a new program, providing young artists with master classes, workshops, performances and exhibitions. The new YoungArts campus will host year-round programming in Miami, including master classes and forums, interdisciplinary performances and exhibitions, screenings of the Emmy-nominated HBO YoungArts MasterClass series, and an art gallery offering exhibitions with free admission, curated in partnership with Miami Art Museum.
YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Vanessa Williams, Viola Davis, and Kerry Washington; four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza; Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore; recording artists Nicki Minaj and Chris Young; musicians Terence Blanchard, Eric Owens, and Jennifer Koh; choreographer Desmond Richardson; and internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken. For more information, visit www.youngarts.org.